High Intensity Training or Slow, Steady State Cardio: Kickboxing
The growth of CrossFit as a form of exercise in popular culture reflects a new fitness craze: high intensity interval training, or HIIT.
If you’ve hit the gym in recent months you might recognise the acronym: right now, it’s the biggest fad in fitness. There’s no denying the appeal of HIIT.
After all, anyone who doesn’t like to work out is unlikely going to want to spend the time running long distances – it’s easy to see why HIIT training is appealing.
There’s always someone selling the next great fitness fad, however, and many people have gotten fit through jogging and endurance workouts.
If the key has been HIIT all along, how have all these people obtained excellent levels of fitness from endurance workouts?
The truth is that both high intensity interval workouts (HIIT workouts) and slow, steady state cardio have their place.
Determining what type of workout you should do is very specific to the overall goals that you have.
Slow, steady state cardio will undoubtedly be good for most people who are unfit and just beginning their fitness journey.
Slow, steady cardio improves endurance: when an athlete performs this type of workout, they are improving their ability to perform at a certain heart rate.
Distance runners and triathletes always use these kinds of workouts to ensure that they can perform the distance that they are supposed to be completing.
Endurance workouts often require the athlete to perform at 50-70% of his or her ability for a longer period of time – usually at least 20 minutes.
HIIT workouts are design to raise the body’s heart rate above a certain range for a short period of time, repeatedly.
Studies have shown that these types of workouts are very effective in burning fat, building endurance, and strengthening the body over time.
Conventional wisdom used to hold that to make an athlete better, volume should be added to workouts.
However, more and more studies are showing that adding intensity to workouts is more effective in many cases, and puts less stress on the body than the volume of endurance workouts.
These workouts are mostly anaerobic, and they demand maximum intensity on an interval. HIIT workouts are often mentally and physically gruelling, although they are much shorter than endurance workouts.
There is no doubt that both endurance training and HIIT workouts have a place in an individual’s fitness regimen.
Variety in a workout will help keep the workout fun and interesting, and will be less likely to lead to burnout for someone who is just beginning their journey to fitness.
Combining both types of cardiovascular exercise is also very important for athletes in other sports that are trying to condition their bodies to perform better: including variety will make the workouts applicable in more situations.
The great thing about kickboxing is that it utilises a combination of HIIT and slow, steady state cardio.
In a kickboxing bout, a fighter has to be able to increase his or her speed during the fight, but he or she also has to be able to continue fighting for the length of the bout.
This means that kickboxing classes – even classes that are designed for fitness, not fighting – provide both slow, stead state cardio and fast, HIIT workouts.
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